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The dangers of air conditioning

Discussion in 'Landscapes, Architecture, and Cityscapes' started by Brent M, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. Brent M

    Brent M

    Aug 13, 2006
    So a couple of weeks ago we took a vacation to South Padre Texas. It was our 1 year old's first trip to the beach. We had a great time.

    While we were there I decided to get up one morning to make some photos of the sunrise over the dunes that more or less make up the island. Which is always a pain for me. While I love mornings, I hate that they have to come so darn early in the day.:wink:

    Anyway, I sucked it up, ask for a 5:30 wake up call got my gear, and drove a couple of miles from the hotel to a spot I saw the day before that I thought would be a good place to watch the sun come up.

    And it was. But what I hadn't counted on was that when my gear, that since to my wife's proclivity for chilly sleeping conditions had been stored in our very cool room, got out in the warm moist air of the coast, the lenses looked like the outside of nice cold glasses of lemonade on a hot summer day.

    I did my best to salvage something, but thought I'd post this just as a little PSA to people who either haven't run into this before, or for whom it has been a while. Live and learn I guess.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  2. Sounds to me like you need to get up at 3:00AM to give your equipment time to acclimate. Leave it in the car parked in front of an all-night resteraunt in front of a window, of course, then go suck down 2 hours worth of coffee all the time watching your vehicle. When you get to the dunes, the camera equipment will be warn and not fog up and the coffee will have had time for its desired effect! :biggrin:
  3. Brent M

    Brent M

    Aug 13, 2006

  4. Brent I had a similar problem, no quite so pronounced, a few summers ago while on vacation with my D70.

    What happened to me is that I had a fairly large dust spec attach itself to my sensor which apparently is more likely in very humid weather especially when moving from a dry (in this case air conditioned) environment. :eek: 

    Was able to clean the sensor with an appropriate product when I got home; however haven't forgotten the lesson of trying to avoid large instantaneous humidity changes!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2007
  5. yamo


    Jun 28, 2007
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Greetings. Just out of curiosity, how long did it take for your lenses to clear up? My wife put her camera on the luggage rack on a bus to Chitzen Itza last year, unbeknownst to her, right next to the air conditioning vent and got a fogged up lens when she went to use it, but fortunately it cleared up in a few minutes. I understand that there are hot and humid places where great care must be taken to avoid such fogging of equipment.

    Interesting image anyway... sorta like a time varying neutral density filter?


  6. Brent M

    Brent M

    Aug 13, 2006
    It certainly is kind of a different look. I don't know if I'd want to try it again though. Unless I can convince my wife that I need a dedicated lanscape lens kept in a waterproof sack in an ice chest for occasions just like this one!

    The lens that I had mounted on my camera, and that was directly exposed to the air was in good enough shape to make this image about a half hour after the one I posted upthread. Which was a little more than an hour after I got there.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    My backpack acted kind of like a cooler though. Which meant that some of my other lenses were still misty when I checked on them that afternoon after spending some time with my family on the beach. From there though, about 10-15 minutes exposed to the ambient air cleared them up.
  7. Brent M

    Brent M

    Aug 13, 2006
    Yeah, I tend to change lenses quite a bit, even when maybe I shouldn't.

    I'm getting more and more proficient in both fixing the spots in PP, and in cleaning my sensor.:wink:
  8. Fogging is a constant problem with me, and worse non-photographically since I wear glasses and practically live in sunglasses (they're on unless it's dark out). Usually takes my glass sunglasses a few minutes to defog.

    For the camera equipment I usually let my camera bag sit outside the back door for 15 minutes or so before I go out. Seems to do the job, and with the equipment in the bag they warm up slowly.

    I also have a pretty bad fogging problem with my aerial camera in the winter. After being cold-soaked in the hangar overnight the lens will occasionally fog over when it warms up from the sun when we push it outside. Cleaning the lens before flight sometimes causes it to fog over too. I've found that cleaning followed by a slow blow from canned air keeps it from forming moisture.

    That might work in reverse in the summer on the smaller cameras too - might be worth a shot.
  9. I had a similar problem when I went to Costa Rica. The hotel was air conditioned and outside the room it was extremely humid. I was told that you can minimize the fogging by storing your equipment in plastic zipper lock bags before entering the room. Minimize the air pocket in the bag by squeezing the air out before zipping the bag and then when you exit the room in the morning take the equipment out of the bag once it is at the ambient temperature of location you intend to shoot.

    Unfortunately, I have not been able to test this since it is advice I was given after the trip and the area I live in, it is not much of a problem. Hope this can help someone else though. This is probably a common problem for those who live in humid areas of the South and N/E USA in summer. I bet they have some good advice.
  10. Hi Brent!

    I've had a few mornings where everything looked like that too....wait a minute, I wasn't even looking through a camera lens! LOL!

    Cool objects in contact with moist air = instant condensation. A simple solution next time would be to take you camera out of the case and put it on the floor of your car. Run the heater on it for the drive to the shoot. It should warm up enough to prevent the fogging.

  11. LindaM


    Jul 24, 2006
    The zip bag idea works....

    Up here in the north, we have the opposite problem. Shoot in the winter and then bringing the gear back inside.

    Scott's idea works. Take a zip bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. When the cold gear hits the warm air, the condensation will occur on the outside of the bag (ie, where the warm, moist air is). It takes no time for the gear to warm and "equalize". No fogging, no condensation. :biggrin:
  12. Rob


    Jul 28, 2005
    Truro, Cornwall, UK
    Similar to Rob above.
    If your car has aircon put it on but also use the heater. The heater will negate the temperature drop and the aircon will remove the humidity. Same goes for defrosting a car windscreen in winter. Sounds crazy, but it works. :smile:
  13. Doug


    Jan 17, 2006
    East TN
    ahh, yet one more good reason to have a car with a trunk, and not an SUV. When I drive to the mountains, my gear has time to warm up in the trunk, so by the time I get there, it's matched to the outdoor temp.
  14. Brent M

    Brent M

    Aug 13, 2006
    The car heating/air conditioning ideas are good ones. Unless you've walked a mile or two before opening your camera bag to discover the condensation. :redface:
  15. I learned my lesson the hard way. It was in the middle of the winter and I had gone to the zoo. The zoo had set up pavilions one for each continent. My P&S went in and out the pavillions and condensation occurred inside the lens. Needless to say, the camera never took pictures the same way.
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